Video gaming systems market themselves as tools for promoting physical activity or physical therapy. In this investigation, we wanted to compare the Wii console system game EA Sports Active to traditional gym exercises using five activities: basketball passing, basketball shooting, biceps curls, body squats, and jogging. Our hypotheses were that: (1) physiological demand would be greater in the gym than on the Wii, (2) psychological measures of exertion would be greater in the gym than on the Wii, and (3) performance would be poorer in the gym than on the Wii. Ten young adults participated in the study, completing all five exercises in both settings. Heart rate recordings were higher for four of the five exercises when performed in the gym versus on the Wii, though estimations of caloric expenditure in the jogging exercise did not differ between the two settings. Ratings of perceived exertion and difficulty were higher in the gym versus on the Wii for half of the exercises but not different for the remaining ones. For the basketball exercises, accuracy was consistently lower in the gym versus on the Wii. These results support use of active video gaming to ameliorate inactivity or to help in physical therapy and rehabilitation, but point out important differences between the gym versus Wii exercise that are important in determining which may be better for general exercise, skill-building, promoting recovery.Faculty Sponsor: Dr. David S. Senchina

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